moved for leave to introduce Bill C-550, An Act respecting the forgiveness of student loans for health professionals.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce a bill that would help students and improve access to basic medical care for people across the country.
We know that regular checkups and preventative health care are far better and cheaper for Canadians than ignoring health problems until a trip to the hospital is required, but far too many families do not have access to a family doctor.
My bill would freeze student loan payments for the first five years after graduation for all doctors and nurse practitioners who agree to practise family medicine in an underserved area. After five years, their student debt would be decreased by 20% for each year they continue to serve as family doctors or nurse practitioners in underserved communities. The effect would be that after 10 years of practising family medicine, their student debt would be totally forgiven.
Last year I met with representatives of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students and they told me about the crippling debt burden faced by many medical graduates.
This bill would help these hard-working students who are dedicating their lives to serving the public and it would help get more family doctors and nurse practitioners into communities that need them.
I ask all members of the House to support this practical idea to strengthen our public health care system for all Canadians.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)